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Monday, May 7, 2012

Rebutting Robert Carroll's Skeptic Dictionary -- Natural Health Newsletter

Rebutting Robert Carroll's Skeptic Dictionary -- Natural Health Newsletter

Several weeks ago, the staff here at the Foundation brought to my attention Robert Carroll's "Skeptic's Dictionary" website that focuses on "exploring strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions." High on the site's list is alternative medicine. As the site says, "Some will be harmed by AM [alternative medicine] and many people will benefit from it, but the entire benefit from AM comes from the placebo effect and the reduction of stress hormones due to the calming effect of good ritual" -- a rather sweeping indictment, I must say. In any case, the reason the staff brought it to my attention is that there is now a featured page on the site -- dedicated to me.1 When I read the page, I found it uproariously funny, filled with misstatements, distortion of fact, and packed with innuendo and a number of juvenile comments -- surprising, considering that the site's author is a retired teacher of "logic" and "critical thinking," albeit at a city college. In any case, the staff insisted we craft a response, even though the site has no facility for leaving comments, and the site says that it will only rarely post them anyway. Nevertheless, I wrote one up, which the staff then toned down and sent on to Dr. Carroll (Ph. D.). The rebuttal was never published, and no response to the email was forthcoming from Dr. Carroll.

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